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The Year of Shadows

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,234 ratings  ·  227 reviews
Olivia wants a new life—and it might take ghosts to get it. A heartfelt, gently Gothic novel from Claire Legrand.

Olivia Stellatella is having a rough year.

Her mother’s left, her neglectful father—the maestro of a failing orchestra—has moved her and her grandmother into the city’s dark, broken-down concert hall to save money, and her only friend is Igor, an ornery stray cat
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published August 27th 2013 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
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Serine Majid Sorry if you were waiting for long or if it is too late. The 4 main character (I think) is Olivia, Igor the cat, Henry, and you could also include Joa…moreSorry if you were waiting for long or if it is too late. The 4 main character (I think) is Olivia, Igor the cat, Henry, and you could also include Joan (I'm pretty sure that's how you spell it). Sorry if the 4th main character isn't Joan...(less)
Leah Kim Erm they learned that Frederick was a musician and got killed by his closest friend. His friend envied him for becoming famous I suppose.

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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  1,234 ratings  ·  227 reviews

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Steph Sinclair
Middle Grade fiction and I don't usually get along, which is funny considering their covers are the cutest things EVER. I am one of those people easily swayed by pretty covers and I just can't help clicking that "To Read" button on Goodreads. What can I say? I have ZERO self-control. You should also know that I do not do Horror. Like, at all because I am a total scaredy cat who's afraid of her own shadow. I sleep with a teddy bear and everything. But anyway, for The Year of Shadows I knew I had ...more
Aug 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ghosts, younger
See the cover? OK, it is dark in color, but aside from that the illustration style seems pretty cute and juvenile. This led me to expect a light and fluffier novel than this actually is. That's not a complaint -- I would probably have read it sooner had I not feared it would be too twee for me, as many recent middle grade books have been.

In fact this story is pretty serious and rather dark. Legrand accurately portrays the anger and confusion of people who are facing serious life issues. And the
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

This is another book that I read on my hiatus way back in July, but once again, a novel that really stuck to the back of my mind. The Year of Shadows is a MG novel, and a particularly beautiful one. It explored some pretty dark themes--literally and non-literally, and had the best characters.

I honestly loved all the characters in the end. The book starts with Oliva, and she's had a really tough year--her mother left her without a word, and money started to be
May 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, arc
A delightful, yet dark MG novel; The Year of Shadows is dusted with ghosts, entertaining personalities, and an unexpected amount of grave topics which are handled with complete expertise, all through the delicate eyes of a child who is harboring a mountain of pain.

This book is about a young girl, Olivia, who has had to move into this battered concert hall where her father works due to the stupid Economy. Fostering anger towards both her father for bringing her to this dank place, and her mother
Sep 11, 2017 rated it liked it
In my opinion on this Book, The Years of Shadows is a slow action book about this girl Olivia and how her life has changed when he mom has "left" her and all the things that happen to her as she tries to continue a normal life. I think this is a really slow action book because the rising action of the story starts out really slow and it kinda bores me, so I just skipped to the middle towards the end of the book to read the climax and the falling action. I can kinda relate to this book because on ...more
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Four years later and this book still has a powerful hold on my heart. It was one of the first books by Claire Legrand that I read and her writing style grabbed me and hooked me in deep. The flow of words was beautiful and a pleasure to read.

Olivia’s a twelve-year-old girl who’s mom left her with her neglectful maestro father who uprooted her and her grandmother from their home to a run-down concert hall after falling on hard times. Olivia’s life has been turned upside down and it’s heartbreaking
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was spooky, wonderful, and thought provoking all in one. Claire Legrand is so spectacular when it come to writing eerie yet whimsical stories that have deep meanings at the very core. At the very beginning of this book she tells the readers she wrote this book on a very personal note and that is no lie. You can feel the raw emotion Legrand put into these words and this story.

The story and the characters were so much fun. A story about making sure to follow your dreams and to live with no r
May 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Middle grade books always get to me. Why? Because childhood and innocence are sacred to me and when injustices are done to either of these two precious things, it's difficult to accept.

Claire Legrand's The Year of Shadows is not a walk in the park. It is not an action adventure that you can read on and off for a few giggles. This is a story of loss. Many losses. Olivia and her Nonnie and her maestro father have moved into the music hall because money is tight and they've had to sell their belong
Kat (Lost in Neverland)
May 25, 2013 rated it really liked it

Update 7-30-13: Thank you, First Reads GR Giveaways and Simon and Schuster for my ARC of the book!

Olivia hates the music hall.
It's cold, dark, crumbling, and brings up memories that she'd rather forget.
And now she's living there.
After Olivia's mother left, her father (whom she refers to as simply 'the Maestro') makes an impulsive decision and sells their house, in the hopes they can save his dying orchestra.
Olivia is forced to live in a dank, depressing storage room with her aging grandmother
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
3.5 stars, rounded up for Igor being the awesomest

First up, the disclaimer: yes, I know Claire Legrand and she's awesome, but that did not influence my opinion of the book in any way. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Though I've had Claire's debut novel, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls for over a year now, I've not managed to work it into my schedule, so I'm glad I've finally gotten to try her writing. Also, I'm pleased to say that I like her writing. Hurrah! Claire Legrand has written a beautiful, oc
Carina Olsen
Feb 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have finally, finally read this book for a second time. It's been more than four years since I first read it. And so I had forgotten just how much I loved this book. And oh, my love for it is strong. I adore Claire like crazy, and her books are always the best. I simply loved this book the most this second time reading it. I'm so glad that I finally took the time to read it again. I adore Olivia and Henry and the ghosts the very most. Eee. But oh gosh, my want for a sequel is so huge right now ...more
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: must-get
Oh my gosh. This book is phenomenal. It was an amazing emotional roller coaster and a heartfelt story. There were twists and breathtaking moments left and right that left me speechless. Now I get to convince everyone to read it!
Michael Sorbello
Olivia is in for a rough year when she's forced to move into a haunted concert hall with her estranged father after losing her mother. Things get strange when she unintentionally befriends an optimistic boy named Henry who seems to be the polar opposite of her in every way and the two get wrapped up in the drama of the afterlife. Through meeting Henry, dealing with a couple of ghostly oddballs and surviving the wrath of sinister apparitions, Olivia goes through many challenges that change her fo ...more
usagi ☆ミ
This is a book that older MG/young YA desperately needs right now - a book that helps explain what Legrand calls "The Economy", and how it's affecting kids. "The Year of Shadows" is a book that is not only just a ghost story, but is also a very real story about kids in that late tween/early teen age range that is learning to deal in a new world that's let them down, a new reality that has reset everything they've learned thus far about their lives, with some ghosts and a metaphor about moving on ...more
Stuti Rai

I'm not very familiar with Marilyn Monroe; I haven't seen many movie of hers nor listened to her songs. Yet, I love the way she talks. And so I'd like you to hallucinate this review in her voice and accent.

The Year of Shadows has a lot to give to those who ask for it.

Unfortunately, I'm not one of those.

The book works on a banal concept, but the execution is diverse and that's where the strength lies.

Olivia Stellatella's is the kid who's having to move into a concert hall, whose mother has ab
Feb 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, mid-reader, 2013
Olivia Stellatella is having a rough year. That's an understatement if there ever was one.

The Year of Shadows is the story of Olivia and her father, the maestro of a failing orchestra and the year after her mother leaves the family. Oh--and the ghosts! When The Maestro sells the family home and moves his elderly mother and Olivia into the backstage area of the music hall it turns out the place is haunted by ghosts. They're tied to the old crumbling hall, unable to move to the afterlife. The onl
Ivonne Rovira
In The Year of Shadows, Claire Legrand has produced a worthy follow-up to her excellent The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls. The book traces embittered loner Olivia Stellatella’s seventh grade school year, a year in which she discovers ghosts and the meaning of family.

As the book opens in September, Olivia, her orchestra conductor father and Italian-immigrant grandmother have been reduced to living at the back of Maestro Otto Stellatella’s beloved Emerson Hall, a decrepit concert hall that’s h
One Sentence Review: A fun little romp with enough ghosts to keep you satisfied for a week, though ultimately the heroine's just a smidge too unlikable and the plotting just a tad too long for it to be much in the way of memorable. ...more
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: disappointment, dnf
DNF @ 25%. just wasn't interested, which is sad because i fucking love the authors' other books. ...more
Melanie Perez
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Olivia moved in a music hall and is trying to help her ghost friends save the music hall. Will she be able to help and save the music hall? I hope you read this book and like it.
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
lol i cant believe i read this when i was 12 and still remember it
Serine Majid
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really well written and so MOOOOOOOOOOOOVING!!!! For a sec... hold on I'm not gonna say anything cause you might never want to trust my mouth (or finger ;P)! ...more
Originally reviewed at

I... I'm sorry, I need a moment. I'm still working through all my crazy, flaily feelings over this book. If any of you have read The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls and were worried that Ms. Legrand might not be able to live up to her smash debut, worry no more! Though Shadows isn't on the same level of freaky horror as Cavendish it excels in the same gothic, touching, heartfelt tone as its predecessor.

The star of the show is Olivi
Belles Middle Grade Library
Oct 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a read! This was spooky & magical, while at the same time having a deeper meaning at its core. This reads at times how real life grief FEELS. You can feel the grief form these characters as you read from them. It’s hard to explain. It was done perfectly though. Olivia is an angry kid-b/c she is a HURTING kid. Her mom left her & her dad a year or so before, & she blames her dad. They now have to live in the music hall b/c of how bad her dad(the maestro)& the orchestra are suffering fina ...more
Once again I'm reading a novel with a protagonist that is struggling with death and loss. I don't know if it makes my current feeling better of worse. Of course I'm telling myself that "everything will be alright in the end, if it's not alright it's not the end", but still it's hard to maintain positivity during this bleak times.
The Year of Shadows is a terrific story, filled with ghosts that draw sympathy. Though Olivia, the main character, isn't adorable for me, I still like her and I can und
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
i must say i'm impressed.
i love Claire Legrand's writing style.

Although maybe the idea of possessed by the ghost and experienced their last time was unique, i still love it.
heartbreaking yet beautiful.
i want more Legrand book! time to hunt
Katherine Paterson's "The Bridge to Terabithia" + Madeline L'Engle's "A Wrinkle in Time" + Neil Gaiman = The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand. I'll get to this equation in a moment.

It's been quite a long time since I have read a children's book, or I guess a middle grade book that has made me stop and pause for a moment. The Percy Jackson series, although fun, didn't really deal with a lot of things like this book has.

For one, Olivia has to deal with a lot of things many children are facing.
Jul 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-edelweiss, 2013
Originally posted at Gypsy Reviews

I received an eARC from the publisher, thanks!

The Year of Shadows was such a satisfying and enjoyable read, it was endearing and had some very strong messages about family, letting go, forgiveness and friendship. It is an exemplary example why I love Middle Grade books and will always continue reading them, no matter that I’m way beyond the years for reading middle grade.

Olivia lives in the concert hall now because her father’s orchestra is losing money quick, h
Aug 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Full review with teacher-y stuff added!

Twelve-year-old Olivia Stellatella (love that protagonist name, by the way!) is a troubled, angry main character, and readers can quickly see why. At the beginning of The Year of Shadows, Olivia is moving into a storage room in a dilapidated old concert hall with her grandmother and father. The reason for Olivia’s near homelessness is her father, whom she will only refer to as “the Maestro”. He is the conductor of an orchestra that has hit hard financial ti
luce (currently recovering from a hiatus)
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"That's, uh," he said. "Your drawing. I like it. What is it?"
I glared up at him. "A black hole of death."
"Oh. Well. That's good."

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
"To moving-on-ness," Frederick said. His grin was so big, his face literally split into pieces, cracking every which way like a giant spider.

Claire Legrand has once again created a both heartwarming and entertaining middle-grade story.
With a sharp-witted protagonist and an eerie setting, The Year of Shad
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Claire Legrand used to be a musician until she realized she couldn’t stop thinking about the stories in her head. Now she is a New York Times bestselling author of darkly magical books.

Her first novel is THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS, one of the New York Public Library’s 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing in 2012. She is also the author of THE YEAR OF SHADOWS, a ghost story for middle grad

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